1. our first hotel, though having no glaring deficiencies, was still below vacation expectations. the other two other hotels were excellent. the ryokan was a wonderful experience, with two nights just about right for our group.
2. all four guides were knowledgeable and entertaining. the kyoto and toyko walking tour guides were also quite vigorous as we walked many miles on those days. the osaka guide (from the UK), not surprisingly, was the easiest to understand, so he provided more complete answers to many of our more complicated questions about japan.
3. some of the attractions the group liked best were on our "on your own" days, including the hakone open air museum, the sumo matches, the diabutsu in nara, and the fushimi inari-taisha (though that walk up the mountain is not for the faint of heart). i do not at all in comparison disparage the activities you scheduled. in particular, my family very much like the tea ceremony and the skytree.
4. one oddity was the half day we spent at disney japan. my three daughters were raised on disney and we have been to disneyworld many times, including several when they were adults. when we unexpectedly saw disneyland japan on the ride in from the airport, they insisted we make time for a visit. they loved it but this is probably not a destination for most american tourists.
5. the osaka guide was quite dismissive of the river cruise suggested in your guide, actually stating that has urged "them" (don't if that is your company or his japan employer) to remove reference to it.
6. we ended up, against your advice, going to the robot restaurant. my wife and i agree your advice was correct though the younger group thought it was at least a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
7. this was our third large group family vacation through zicasso (greece, italy, and japan) and have been more than satisfied each time. japan in particular required much more guidance for tourists, which you provided both in the written materials and in our several conversations. Because japan is so different from the US, tourists can easily be overwhelmed. We could not have enjoyed the trip (which we did immensely) without your help.
thanks again for everything.
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